An application filed by Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), over his alleged ill health, has been dismissed by a federal high court.
Maina, who was sentenced to eight years in prison after he was found guilty of money laundering, had in a motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1729/2022, dated and filed on September 27, asked the court for an interim order directing Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, and Haliru Nababa, controller-general of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), to immediately take him to a reputable hospital for treatment.
The Minister who reacted to the application, accused the former PRTT boss of feigning illness to aid his escape from prison.
Ruling on the case on Wednesday, November 16, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that Maina’s application is a “ruse” designed to help him escape from prison.
“In my opinion, this application is a ruse.
“It is an attempt to belittle the essence of criminal conviction and to aid the applicant (Maina) to live above the law.
“I find that the application lacks merit and I make an order dismissing it.”
Justice Ekwo who also noted that the defendants placed sufficient evidence before the court to show that the applicant (Maina) was given proper medical care.
They include proof showing that Maina was taken to the cardiological department, orthopaedic and ear, nose and throat (ENT) departments of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada 23 times.
Ekwo added that while prisoners have a right to receive medical treatment, they do not have a right to hold the state to ransom on such demand.
The Judge said;
“Taking a prisoner to a hospital 23 times demonstrates care and attention on the part of the custodial authorities.
“The allegation of the applicant that the refusal of the respondents to take the applicant to a reputable and recognised hospital for medical attention or treatment, cannot be founded in the circumstance of this case.
“I hereby state categorically that a teaching hospital in Nigeria is a reputable and recognised hospital.
“This application, in my opinion, is clear evidence of the fact that the applicant is yet to undergo any degree of reformation that his conviction and sentence to prison custody is meant to achieve.
“From the evidence before me, it is manifestly clear that the applicant is not just looking for medical treatment, but an indulgent lifestyle while in prison.
“He wants to be treated as a privileged person with absolute rights and privileges.
“It is either the applicant does not understand the limitations of a custodial life or is pretending not to do so.
“The court will not interfere with the actions and decisions of the custodial authorities once it is demonstrated that they acted within the confines of the statute regulating the performance of their functions.”